Sheffield doctor jailed over diagnosis error

A doctor has been jailed for manslaughter after he failed to properly diagnose a patient who later died from a diabetic condition.

Bala Kovvali was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison after he pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to the manslaughter of Andrew Fellows in 2009.

Mr Fellows, 42, died hours after Kovvali diagnosed him with depression.

Kovvali, 64, a former GP, was working as an out-of-hours doctor in Sheffield at the time.

'Hundred-watt smile'

The court heard Kovvali was called to examine Mr Fellows but did not properly assess him or send him to hospital.

Mr Fellows later died from diabetic ketoacidosis.

The doctor was charged with manslaughter after a coroner adjourned an inquest into Mr Fellows' death for investigations to take place.

In a statement released after the sentencing, Mr Fellows' family said he was known as "the man with the hundred-watt smile".

They said: "We just wanted everyone to know how much our family loved him.

"Andrew was a loving son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and cousin whose death has caused a huge hole in the lives of everyone who knew him. He was honest and upright, funny and sensitive."

Thorough procedures

At the time of Mr Fellows' death, Kovvali was working as a self-employed contractor for Primecare, a primary health care services provider.

A spokeswoman for Primecare said: "All doctors have a duty to provide the highest levels of care to their patients. On this occasion it is clear that those standards were not met, which resulted in the tragic death of Mr Fellows and, in this case, the courts have held the individual responsible to account.

"Primecare has thorough procedures in place for the recruitment, training and monitoring of all our clinicians.

"At the time of the incident, Dr Kovvali, a local Sheffield doctor, had met all of the standards required by the PCT."

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